Planning and Zoning Regular Meeting

April 18, 2013 5:30 pm

Attending: Matt Cossalman, Caleb Davis, Ron Self, John Cranor, John Moss, Marciavee Cossette. Absent: Steve Shelman, Mike Weland (excused), Bruce Behrman. Staff, Dan Studer.

At 5:30 pm Matt Cossalman, Chairman opened the regular meeting and read through the agenda.

The minutes of the March meeting were reviewed and Ron Self motion to accept the minutes, second by John Cranor. No discussion, the motion was passed unanimously.

Cossalman opened the public hearing for 12-042 Villelli Application for Zone Map Amendment at 5:33 pm. Cossalman read through the proceedure script, and asked members if anyone needed to step down for conflict or ex-parte contact, none did.

Villelli gave his opening remarks. He commented his original wish was to have the 12 acre parcel included in the Commissioner's amendment (12-006), however, it was missed. His plan is to have the 12 acres Ag/Forestry match the adjacent 11 acre parcel to the East which is now Suburban. He wishes to do this so both parcels are zoned the same and the 11 acre parcel, which is on the river, is currently too narrow to meet septic requirements. The drain-field must extend West across an existing pipeline (into the 12 acre parcel) to meet Panhandle Health requirements.

Self asked about easments. Villelli explained he had put in utility and road access easements for people living on parcels south of parcels. There was discussion that the space needed for the leach field would be approximately 50 x 100 feet plus setbacks from adjacent properties.

Cranor asked about the elevations and the septic fields, Villelli explained that the system would require a pump station to lift 8 to 10 feet up.

Cossalman asked about Earl Lane Road and future subdivision of property; Rural Subdivision provisions would apply, and Earl Lane would require improvements. Villelli acknowledged that that is something he will have to deal with in the future, however, at this time he has to get the rezone and this process completed first. Essentially, the 12 acre parcel cannot be legally divided in two because it is 10 acre minimum Ag/For zoned. He would like to combine both parcels and split into three 2.5 acre parcels on the river, and the remainder acres to the West (~10 acres) leave as one parcel. Other road and easement issues will come up in the future if this hurdle is passed.

Cossalman, refering to 12-006 Commissioners rezone amendment, said that for this area the P&Z commissioner's voted to keep it Ag/Forestry zoned. Villelli said that the Commissioner's felt differently, that the best and highest use of the land was Suburban along the river. Many parcels are one acre and that 2.5 is adequate. People using the current road don't have a problem with it.

Self asked Villelli to confirm that the rezoning is just so the septic can be implemented and the parcels then split. Villelli said that he needed at least two acres to the West of his river lot to cover the septic requirements, if he could rezone just two acres on the East side of his 12.65 acre parcel that would be adequate. Right now his river property can't be used – no septic. If the Commissioner's could rezone 200 feet for him that would be okay, and make his river lot plans workable.

There being no more questions from the Commission members, Cossalman closed the opening comments and asked for the Staff Report. Studer read the Comprehensive Plan descriptions for Ag/Forestry and Suburban zones in Chapter 13.

Cossalman asked if anyone in attendence wished to speak in favor of this application? No response.

Cossalman asked if anyone who is neutral would like to speak. Don Jordan, Naples ID spoke. Don said he was unaware of what Villelli's plan was for the acreage. Don said that he didn't have a problem with the 2 ½ acre parcels on the river, in fact that would be an improvement over what was done in the past. Villelli's plan for splitting is OK with the larger parcel remaining on the West, however, you have to be mindful of what someone else may do in the future. They could further split where Villelli never intended. Room is needed for the lots septic system, but also, since they don't last forever, a good plan will include adequate room for future replacement septic systems. Don would like to see 300 foot river frontage per parcel along the river.

Cossalman asked Jordan if 2 ½ acres is sufficient to handle a well, septic system, and future replacement septic? Jordan said each individual circumstance should be looked at on its own. The long term future may lead to rec. homes becoming permanent and affect roads and schools in the area; it could open a can of worms in the future up there.

Ann Brezina asked to speak neutrally on the application. She is from Bonners Ferry, and has property North of Villelli's. She likes the Ag/Forestry 10 acre zone, has concerns over the primitive road, and would prefer not to have the rezone. She said she is really against rezoning, but the river property is OK and didn't understand why Villelli can't just run his septic anyway, because it is his property. Brezina mentioned this area has issues with lots of rock, and the sewer plan is questionable, and difficult to implement. A spit into two 10's looks okay.

Cossalman asked regarding her property location in relation to Villelli's. Response is confidential.

Cossalman asked for those who wish to speak opposed to the application. There were no people wishing to speak.

Cossalman asked Villelli for his rebuttal. Villelli responded that what he wanted was three parcels on the river, and the septic to expand into his 12 acre parcel. He said if he had 200 feet into the 12 acre parcel changed to Suburban that would be okay. He explained that three 300 x 500 ft. parcels on the river and one in back (West). Because he is the narrowest parcel on the river when the Commissioners rezoned it to Suburban, this problem arose. Villelli is willing to set aside the area necessary for septic and septic replacement.

Self asked if JRS is doing a preliminary plat that shows the septic? Villelli responded that he is proceeding slowly, one step at a time, and that the market is not great now but does plan to go through the steps necessary to realize this future plan.

Moss brought up the quality of the road and said that a P&Z decision to zone Suburban is the same as saying it is permissible to subdivide the 12 acres, the road issue is not a problem. Villelli said he is not asking to subdivide the 12 acres. He is going one step at a time, and can foresee having to ask a neighbor for 30 feet of easement to improve the road sometime in the future.

Villelli having finished his rebuttal Cossalman closed the public hearing to public comment and opened for discussion.

Studer was asked by Cossalman regarding just allowing a 200 ft. zone amendment on the East side of the 12 acre parcel. Studer said that would be a substantial change to the application and said another public hearing would be required in that case. He said he would request concurrence from our civil attorney. Cranor suggested two scenario's: amend the current application to 200 ft. and have another public hearing; or have the application withdrawn and the applicant resubmit a revised plan with the lesser acres applied for rezone.

Moss asked about just establishing an easement specifically for a leach-field on the 12 acre parcel. The commission discussed this as an alternative to rezone. Self added a question about a community leach-field and how that would change the Suburban from 2 ½ acre minimum to 1 acre.

Cossalman expressed concern regarding this decision, changing Ag/Forestry to Suburban in the Moyie River corridor, and others who may live across the river now seeing this as an option they could take advantage of also. It could develop into a future situation where it's okay to change here, and not there scenario.

Cranor said that an easment would solve most of the issues and avoids all the objections. Cossalman concurred and said that rezoning the entire 12 acres was the least of his preferences. Cranor asked why the easement process would not be the first, or best choice as a solution for Villelli's problem? Cossalman asked Cranor if he would like to hear Villelli's response to that question. Cranor indicated yes.

Cossalman heard a motion by Self to reopen the public hearing, second by Cranor, motion passed unanimouly. Cossalman invited Villelli to step up and respond to discussion.

Villelli opened saying the properties to the north have more width between the river and the road, and accommodate septic system more easily because of that distance. As for the easement, Villelli said that it is common for the Health dept. to require a designated separate legal parcel when these are established. He could not do this in an Ag zone.

Villelli said he'd be happy to withdraw the application and go to the Health department for a determination on an easement for septic and then return. He also said he'd be happy to reapply for a 200 ft. rezone as opposed to the whole 12 acre parcel. After discussion Villelli withdrew his application and said he'd follow that up in writing. He plans to respond to issues brought up and reapply. Moss warned Villelli that when he reapplies he should expect that there will still be possible opposition to his application. Villelli responded that he is well aware of that fact.

Cossalman closed the public hearing at 6:30 pm. and asked for a recess.

Cossalman reopened the regular meeting at 6:40 pm. The agenda item opened was discussion of the Comprehensive Plan amendment. Self began with discussion of Transportation, Roads. Self explained some frustration with the process of individuals amending sections, and would prefer to discuss and amend as a group. Moss agreed that it is difficult to amend something you are aware someone else years earlier had worked hard on, and his solution was not to eliminate a lot, but rather try to shorten it and make it more concise.

The commission reviewed John Moss's Chapter 13.4.4. Rural Community Commercial. The group agreed to description of the character of Rural Community/Commercial in the current plan, however, found that the listing of examples of land uses should be eliminated because these examples, and more, are specifically spelled out in the Ordinance. The commission finds that specific uses being listed is not productive because listing “community halls” as appropriate in the Rural Community/Commercial zone, are also appropriate in many other zones, and does not reflect the uniqueness of this zone as compared to other zones. Also, specific lot sizes were eliminated because the Ordinance specifically spells out this detail, while the Comprehensive Plan is designated to provide the description of the character of the Rural Community/Commercial zone.

The committee deliberated and wished to study more the writing of uses which are compatible and incompatible and describe this without being specific, such as auto wrecking yards prohibited. Instead, the Comprehensive Plan should be descriptive, i.e. “In the Rural Community/Commercial zone, commercial uses should not infringe on residential rights so as to cause noise or odors offensive to the senses, or activities beyond the reasonable expectations of neighbors.” The Ordinance would then specify that dog kennels and junk yards are prohibited. Carrying out this thought then, along Highway 2 in Commercial Light Industrial would allow more noise; and the Ordinance would specify dog kennels as a use by right in that zone.

Discussion lead to why is the commission editing so much on the comprehensive plan, and Cossalman explained that the current Comprehensive Plan goes beyond describing zone characteristics and includes specific land uses; when you go to the ordinance, the land uses described there are not the same. Land uses should be eliminated from the Comprehensive Plan and be only specified in the Ordinance.

The committee discussed the agenda for May 16, and procedures regarding the public hearing protocol.

Cossalman closed the public meeting at 7:30, all members in favor.

Dan Studer, recorder.

Approved: 3/16/2013 by P&Z commission.